Mind Matters News and Analysis on Natural and Artificial Intelligence

CategorySocial Factors

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Coconuts Go High Tech

Plastics from coconut waste offer economic benefit to poor farmers

One of Walter Bradley’s longstanding goals as an engineer and materials scientist has been to harness advanced materials technology to help the world’s poor, most of whom are poor farmers.

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The true cost of “free” social media

It’s free but… are we? George Gilder points a way forward.
He thinks that expected massive increases in computing power will enable blockchain technologies that allow users to safely bypass the global data monopoly that Google and similar firms represent. Read More ›
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Senior Google scientist quits over Google’s censorship in China

He believes it “contravenes widely accepted principles of international law and human rights”
Some believe that any censorship system that a human being can develop can somehow be got around by another human being. China may provide a way of testing that.   Read More ›
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Twitter doesn’t just seem out of control

It actually is.
Social media may be changing the world more than we think. And we may need some social leadership in fighting back against Twitter mobs. It probably won’t emerge from within because bullies are usually cowards. Read More ›
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Google branches out into politics

Unfortunately, the only political model it would likely know is: One-party state

The unchallenged manipulation of search engine results during elections is a new phenomenon made possible by the domination of the internet by a few big players.

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How do robots “care”?

Emotional robots’ cameras and sensors respond to your facial expressions, tone of voice, and movements

Critics of the emotional robotics industry say that the view of emotions (assumed in the industry to be only six) is oversimplified and that the robots are likely to promote stereotypes.

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Building a better future

“Artificial” Artificial Intelligence

What happens when AI needs a human I?
Artificial intelligence often fails at crucial points. It must then be supplemented by human intelligence. Many software systems that look to their users like pure advanced artificial intelligence hide a lot of human effort behind a technological mask. Read More ›
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AI is indeed a threat to democracy

But not in quite the way historian Yuval Noah Harari thinks
Rapid, wide dissemination of ideas we don’t understand is the prime threat AI poses to humanity. It is an existential threat to human dignity and flourishing. And this threat is made graver, not less grave, by our democracy, which, as Plato understood, is the necessary soil of tyranny. Read More ›
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Slaughterbots: How far is too far?

And how will we know if we have crossed a line?
A greater focus should be on restoring the foundations of our nation over building superweapons. And the key foundation is all human beings' right to life. Read More ›
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Slaughterbots

Is it ethical to develop a swarm of killer AI drones?
For threats like slaughterbots, the answer is the development of newer technology. Like it or not, history is replete with accounts of new military technology replacing old.  Evil, seeking influence, demands a response, so the technology to provide one must be developed. Read More ›
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Silicon Valley grew old before it grew up

By April of this year, 100 employees were complaining about the Google groupthink
Quip making the rounds: Would you trust a self-driving car from Google? Answer: Sure, if I needed a car that decided for me where I should go and then just drove me there. Read More ›
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Karl Marx’s Eerie AI Prediction

He felt that capitalism would fall when machines replaced human labor
Because Marx held that the value of goods resided in the labor required to produce them, if goods were produced by automatons, without human labor, the economy would fall apart and capitalism would fail. Read More ›
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Could AI Understand the Universe?

World-renowned chemist thinks it might understand what we can’t, including consciousness
Atkins is arguing that the fact that we do not understand what consciousness is, far from being a barrier to creating artificial consciousness, offers the hope that, once we do create them, artificially conscious entities will understand consciousness but we won’t. The proposition sounds a bit confused, no? Read More ›
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Could HAL 9000 Ever Be Built?

I say yes. Some reflections on the 50th Year Anniversary of 2001: A Space Odyssey
At one point on the trip from Earth to Jupiter, HAL becomes suspicious that the crew might be sabotaging the mission. HAL then purposely tries to kill all the crew. The most logical explanation for this act is a coding error. HAL was programmed to operate on the basis that the mission took priority over human life. Read More ›
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Silicon Valley as a Colonial Power

Irish writer asks us to look more carefully at claims about “liberation”
The social media companies will force us to define ourselves over against the specifications of our would-be programmers. And say what you want about the conflict, it will never be dull. Read More ›
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Giant Google’s Vulnerable Spot

Social media are free because we are both the content and the market
Recently, we looked at philosopher of technology George Gilder’s Life after Google: The Fall of Big Data and the Rise of the Blockchain Economy. But what form would that decline take? A look at the advertising picture offers one clue. Read More ›